Traditionally the Lord-Lieutenant was responsible to the Crown for enforcing law and order and held the power to appoint Justices of the Peace to the Magistrates Bench, a traditional term for the Panel of Magistrates, within the county. The Lord-Lieutenant is Custos Rotulorum or Master of the Rolls.
Magistrates are drawn from people of good character to provide local justice for local citizens.
Today the Lord-Lieutenant shares (in alternation with the Lord-Lieutenants of Surrey and East Sussex) the chairmanship of the Surrey and Sussex Magistracy Advisory Committee, whose task is to select suitable persons from volunteers to join the Bench from a wide variety of walks of life. The Advisory Committee will call for volunteers to fill vacancies as they become available. After being sworn in successful applicants undergo a period of training before they are qualified to sit in Court.
Those interested in applying to become a Magistrate can find further information at www.direct.gov.uk/magistrates